A leader and two activists of Jubo League in Natore were found shot dead in Dinajpur yesterday, about two days after they were picked up allegedly by Rab members.
The mother of one of the dead has filed a general diary saying a Rab team had taken them away from Tokia Bazar of Natore on Saturday.
The elite force denies the allegation.
The dead are Redwan Sabbir and Abu Abdullah from Natore Sadar upazila's Kanaikhali and Sohel Rana from Rothbari.
On information from locals, police recovered the bodies in Ghoraghat upazila of Dinajpur around noon. According to police, the Jubo League men were shot point-blank in the head.
Sabbir was in the 31-member convening committee of Natore municipality unit of Jubo League, youth front of the ruling Awami League.
And Sohel and Abdullah were active members of the municipality unit, said Ruhul Amin Biplob, secretary of Natore district Jubo League.
The three were known as the sidekicks of local AL lawmaker Shafiqul Islam Shimul.
Accused in 12 cases, including that for murder, drug peddling and extortion, Sabbir was arrested by Rapid Action Battalion in Natore town on August 12 last year. But lawmaker Shimul snatched him from the Rab team.
A video footage, obtained by this newspaper, shows that Shimul was locked in an altercation with Rab members before snatching Sabbir that day.
Sohel is accused in three cases, including one for murder.
The three used to move together.
According to locals, Sabbir formed a group called “Sabbir Bahini” and Abdullah and Sohel were its members. They were involved in various criminal activities in the district.
Around 11:45pm Saturday, witnesses said, 12 persons arrived at Tokia Bazar on two microbuses -- one white and the other black -- and started observing the three, who were taking tea at a stall there.
Noticing the teams, the Jubo League men tried to flee on their bike but the microbuses obstructed their way.
“The team members -- two of them wearing vests inscribed with the word 'Rab' -- beat them [the three] up, pulled them into the black microbus and drove away,” a man who runs a tea stall at the bazaar told this newspaper, wishing anonymity.
Sabbir's mother Roksana Begum filed a general diary with Natore Sadar Police Station on Sunday.
“Sabbir along with Sohel and Abdullah left his Kanaikhali house for Tokia Bazar on a bike around 8:00pm Saturday. Some people, identifying themselves as Rab men, took them away when they were taking tea at the bazaar,” the GD reads.
Anwar Hossain, company commander (in-charge) of Natore unit of Rab, denied picking up any of the persons.
"Rab did not pick them up. We are investigating to find out who kidnapped the Jubo League men,” Anwar, also assistant superintendent of police, told The Daily Star.
Abdul Latif, maternal uncle of Abdullah, said there had long been a feud between Abdullah and his cousins over the ownership of Chhayabani Cinema Hall.
“Abdullah was trying to turn the hall into a business centre but the other owners are trying to run the cinema business. Abdullah might have been murdered because of the enmity,” he told The Daily Star.
Family members of Abdullah and Sohel did not file any case or general diary regarding their abduction.
Sabbir, 28, is unmarried; Abdullah, 30, got married last year. Sohel, around 25, is the father of a three-year-old son and a two-month-old daughter.
Yesterday, Natore municipality Jubo League at a press conference in the town demanded arrest and punishment of the killers.
Meanwhile, Ghoraghat police sent the bodies to Dinajpur Medical College Hospital for autopsy.
Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Natore Sadar Police Station, said they have no idea who kidnapped and killed the Jubo League men.
The three had been missing since Saturday night, he added.
Police recovered the bodies after locals spotted those around 7:00am.
Hamidul Alam, superintendent of police, Dinajpur, said all the three were shot point-blank in the head.
Police also found two bottles of liquors and four mobile phones from the scene. Officials informed the victims' family members through the only phone they could unlock. The three other phones were password protected.
Talking to The Daily Star at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban yesterday, MP Shimul said he along with other MPs from Natore met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Sangsad Bhaban and raised the issue.
“We told Netri [Hasina] that we cannot tolerate the killing of our leaders and activists.”
Shimul, lawmaker from Natore-2, said plainclothes men took away Sabbir and two others by a microbus while they were taking tea at a place in Natore.
Asked what the PM told them in response, Shimul said she assured them of looking into the matter and taking necessary measures to identify the persons responsible for the killings.
Asked if he doubts Rab men had picked up the three, the lawmaker said he will not make any comment on this as the PM herself is now dealing with the matter.
[Our Natore and Dinajpur correspondents contributed to this report]